With so much information available over the Internet, how
are people supposed to know which sources are reliable?
That was one of many thoughtful questions posed before,
during and after my chat today with more than 50 YAHAs in Saratoga Springs.
The YAHAs, every one of them eligible for AARP discounts, gathered
this afternoon at Longfellows for beef stroganoff, chocolate cake and a chance
to chat with the editor of their hometown paper.
I left hungry for more conversation, but grateful for the
opportunity to speak with the YAHAs — Young at Heart Adults, most affiliated
with the Presbyterian-New England Congregational Church in Saratoga Springs —
who stay young in part by socializing once a month over a meal and a featured
Before everyone settled in for lunch I took a photo on my
iPhone and tweeted. How many of you are following me on Twitter, I asked. Not
one hand went up. How many of you use Twitter? Ditto.
OK, no tweeters among these lifelong print aficionados, but many
who look online for news. One gentleman said he gets all his Saratogian news
online. And he’s glad it’s free.
Which brings us to the YAHA who asked how people can tell what
to believe online, noting a tongue-in-cheek commercial that says, “If it’s on
the Internet it must be true.”
The answer is at the heart of my optimism about the future
of newspapers … er, news providers. Established news organizations like The
Saratogian take seriously their responsibility to provide information that is
accurate both in fact and context. Reporters’ stories attribute the sources of
information, so you know where it’s coming from. We take pains to use trustworthy
sources to earn the trust of readers and establish ourselves as reliable
sources of information.
Sure, we make mistakes. We aim high and sometimes miss. We
can’t always get the whole story, at least not right away, for lack of time or dependable
But we can tell stories better than ever these days,
updating the news as it develops, correcting as needed, linking to more
information, and sharing instant feedback and suggestions.
|More than 50 Young at Heart Adults -- YAHAs -- gathered Jan. 15 for lunch |
at Longfellows , where we talked about community newspapering,
The Saratogian, the role of the editor and the future of journalism.
Our coverage of the state’s landmark gun control legislation
passed today is a case in point, with stories updated online last evening as
the Senate voted and today through the Assembly vote. Text messaging with
legislative aides enabled us to report last night’s action as it happened, and
we cobbled together a short story right on our press deadline (OK, a few
minutes past) to get the Senate vote into print.
We have planned a print front page for tomorrow that tackles
various aspects of the legislation, but the basic stories have been online
throughout today. Though we aspire to always be digital first, we take pride in
our print product. But the concept of the front page as the frozen-in-time record
of historic moments has become increasingly quaint.